Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Effect of the Drug War

Increasingly, the young murder suspects coming to the station for questioning seem to lack basic morality, said Sgt. Tim Nolan, who has been investigating Oakland homicides for 17 years.

"There are more and more families where there's less and less structure," he said. "Talking to these suspects day in and out, there's a higher percentage today with no sense of right and wrong. It's frightening, but we are creating super-criminals."


Morality is woven into the fabric of a society, creating a structure of normative rules. Morality is functional. When society changes, those rules change, within range of certain biological limits...


ADHR said...

What does your comment have to do with what Nolan said? I'm missing something, I think. Nolan is saying that people lack moral rules altogether. It's not that the rules are changing; it's that they aren't being taught.

undergroundman said...

The fact that moral ideas have to be taught seems like the interesting question. I've never said that people lack moral rules altogether. Moral rules, as I've said, are a function of society. As society changes, moral rules will change.

I'm tempted to say that we should separate moral questions based on the idea of "fairness" and some of these other out there moral rules against incest, premarital sex, homosexuality, ect. The former are necessary for a society to function properly, the latter are really a function of complex sociological factors.

You might think that "fairness" or "justice" as an underlying moral principle is inviolable, but it's changed dramatically and continues to change. 500 years ago the idea that all people were equal under the law was ludicrous. Today that principle is given some heavy lip service in the US. In the future, secular morality could go further towards pure equality under the law (philosophy) or towards you get what you pay for (economics). Both have some logical arguments for them.

Nazi Germany remains a good example of the collapse of a moral system because the society supporting it got out of control.

By the way, I intend to return to our earlier discussion. I posted a long response but then Firefox crashed...happens too often.